Ierissos is a small town located near the border with Athos, on the coast of the bay of the same name, 100 km from Thessaloniki. Because of its proximity to the monastic republic, it is often visited by pilgrims. However, lovers of sandy beaches, quiet rest and clean sea will also have a great time in the village.


Ierissos is considered to be one of the oldest settlements in this place. Its history goes hand in hand with religion. Since the end of the VII century BC, people have already been living here that is evidenced by archaeological finds. In 883, the city became the residence of the episcopacy. But it could not exist without scandals and conflicts. The 10th century is associated with controversies with the Athos monks about the city's borders, which are closely connected with the borders of the monastic community.

In 1425, the city was occupied by the Ottomans. As a result of the Venetian conflict, the village and its surroundings were burned down. The invaders rebuilt everything, and the city had a huge influence within the Ottoman Empire for a long time and had certain privileges in the sphere of trade and politics.

In 1821, Ierissos took part in the Greek war of independence. The city was burned down again, and most of the civilians were killed.

In 1932, a powerful earthquake destroyed the city for the third time. The new city was built a little northwards from the old one.

How to get

Our Greece-Halkidiki-Ierissos route starts from “Macedonia” airport in Thessaloniki. You can get from there by bus. To do this, take the bus number 78 (the fare is €1). The first bus leaves at 5:50 a.m. and the last bus leaves at 11:00 p.m. There are 20-minutes intervals between departures. The bus takes passengers to the KTEL Halkidiki bus station. There you need to change to a regular bus. You will quickly reach the destination, as the village is not far from the bus station.

The best option in terms of time and cost is a transfer. If you book the car in advance through the app, you can save up to 15% on your trip compared to the prices of cab drivers offering their services at the airport. Otherwise rental car is a good option as you could visit stunning beaches and attractions in ths area.

How to move?

If you plan a relaxing vacation without active movements, you can do without a car in the village. Ierissos has a long promenade by the sea, which is pleasant to walk along. You can walk to the nearby scenic beach Kakoudia. 

There are plenty of taverns and restaurants with gyros, bakeries and cafes. There are large supermarkets Lidl and Masutis in walking distance.

What to see?


Despite the small size of the village, there are places to see here when you have free time between active water sports and tasting the masterpieces of local chefs.

One of the main heritage is the Cemetery of Ancient Akanthos. Excavations of the site in 1973 helped the historians to reconstruct the life and traditions of the ancient Akanthos. Most of the burials here were made during the period from the 7th century BC to the 4th century BC. The cemetery is located between the coastal zone and the residential quarter and covers an area of 60 hectares. According to preliminary estimates, there are up to 13 000 graves here, which are located in different layers of soil.

This place will be especially interesting for those who are curious about the funeral traditions of different peoples. For example, several types differ depending on the social status of the deceased, as well as on the century when the burial was made.

The most common type of grave is a simple pit dug in a sandy area and covered with many layers of clay or mud. Stones and very rare grave columns indicate a grave. The iron nails around some bodies prove that the dead people were placed in wooden coffins or stretchers. Archaeologists paid special attention to the remains with iron shackles in the lower part of the legs, which were found in simple pits. According to historians, they were slaves, war prisoners, sick or convicted for a long time.

Ancient amphorae with remains are the major type of children's burials. In order to place a dead baby into an amphora, a part of the vase had to be broken. Then the broken parts were joined back. Adults were usually buried in large pithas. These vases were either made in local workshops or purchased from overseas merchants in local ports.

Tiled graves are also common here. Tiles for children's burials were used as a floor and for covering. In adults’, they form a hut with sloping sides and a row of covering tiles at the top. Less common are terracotta (clay) sarcophagi, usually sole-coloured, sometimes with painted decoration (Klazomenai type) or with relief stucco decoration under the rim. The roof tiles that cover them usually have shape of an angled or curved roof.

The tombs are few and usually associated with the Roman period of cemetery use. This is connected with the fact that burial in those days was a particularly expensive ceremony, and therefore the bodies were often cremated — this procedure was used since Homeric times. There were several options: either they made kilns-graves — the sides of simple or rectangular pits were laid out with raw bricks — or they burned the body in another place and buried the ashes in a special vase.

Among other interesting places, we recommend visiting the local Ekklisia Panagia Church. This little white building with small wooden inserts and a belfry is a classic example of traditional Greek architecture.

Another church that is worth attention is the Church of St. Nicholas (Ἱερός Ναός Ἁγίου Νικολάου). This is a very simple building made of maroon stone with white inserts. There is a well-kept garden around it. Wedding ceremonies are often held on the territory of this church, so you can see a large number of brides at the weekend.


Although Ierissos has beautiful beaches, you might be interested in exploring the surrounding area. Go to Nea Roda, which has golden sand and azure waters. Do you want more privacy? Beaches Kumitsa is ideal: quiet, uninhabited, surrounded by greenery. There is also the border with Athos.

What to do?

Active recreation

If you do not like just to sunbathe and swim, then here you can:

  • go diving;
  • arrange a small yacht cruise;
  • walk along the old streets and try to find the remains of ancient amphorae on the ground;
  • go fishing.

Visit the city of Ouranoupolis, which is very close. The historical sites there are the Prosphoria Tower and Zigu Castle. You can devote a day to a boat trip: there is a large ship that sails along the shores of Mount Athos. You will see the large monasteries and hear the history of the monastic state.

From the port of Tripiti you can take a ferry to the island of Amouliani. It is famous for its atmosphere and picturesque scenery. Do you like to be at the helm? Rent a boat to swim off the coast of Drenia Island. This is a very popular itinerary.


Near the waterfront in the village, you can find many small shops of local craftsmen, where they sell jewelry and clothes in the ethnic style, honey, wine, olive oil, souvenirs made of clay and wood.

Recreation with children

You will feel very cozy and good in the village with children. The beach is sandy and very clean, many cafes and taverns are happy to accept the youngest guests and cook for them separately. From entertainment, you can find small playgrounds with slides and swings everywhere.

If you go to the beach, don't forget to visit the Aquarium. This is a completely free mini aquarium with 40 cubic metres of water, which is open all day. If you go down to the basement, you will be able to see the main inhabitants of the gulf: seahorses, shellfish, crabs, perches, lobsters, mullets, lizards and other inhabitants of the underwater world.

Leisure for adults

If you think that it is boring here at night, then you are wrong! There is a King Size Club near the village. It is small, and the world-known DJs whose tracks are banging at the largest European festivals, do not perform in it. And you will not be treated with perfectly delicious cocktails. But it's very merry and noisy here in the evenings. You definitely won't get bored.

If you prefer an intimate setting, go to the Public Cafe Bar. A little twilight, guitar sounds, smoky hookahs and interesting cocktails will make your evening unforgettable.

Where to stay?


You will find different options on well-known booking sites.


Since the village is small, there are not many villas. But many are in secluded areas and provide you with a private holiday surrounded by nature.


GKEEA Boutique Hotel is a boutique hotel close to the beach. It is not large, so the guests can expect an individual approach and a high level of service. The modern rooms are elegantly decorated in grey and white tints. You can stay here with a pet, after notifying the staff. The breakfasts in the restaurant on the first floor are continental, without ethnic dishes — they perfectly suit mothers with children.

The five-star Mount Athos Resort has recently opened in Ierissos. It is located on a hill at the edge of the village, many rooms have a view of the sea. According to the reviews of tourists it is a very worthy option.

In the village, there are hotels a little cheaper and more common. For example, Hotel Markos and Akanthos Hotel. You can't expect five-star service here, but your stay will still be comfortable and pleasant.

What to taste?


For breakfast, go to an establishment called Frepa to taste sweet or salty pancakes. There are several kinds for fillings in the menu. Besides, you can also order a light salad, a sandwich, porridge, an omelet, coffee, tea or juice. There is a small children's corner with toys.

Dam Cafe. The fans of anime and comics will especially appreciate this place, as it is designed in the spirit of old comics of the 60s and partially combined with those of the USA of the 50s. In such an interesting and pleasant environment, you can enjoy a milkshake, frappe, cappuccino or fresh juice. And if you come back here in the evening, you can drink a couple of glasses of original cocktail.

Akanthos Cafe is a nice place where a local married couple, a traveler and a priest can chat at the same table. From desserts, we recommend trying local sweets, the taste of which will be revealed by the properly brewed coffee. The menu also includes several types of pizzas, meat and fish dishes, simple salads and sandwiches.

Artozyma is a traditional bakery with such an aroma in the morning air that even famous perfumers will forget about the most refined and complex combinations. Large pitas, flavorful fancy cakes, small pies, buns with jam and crispy baguettes will make you instantly forget about a low-carb diet and just surrender to calories.


When the sun's rays turn from warm to scorching ones, go to Athos tavern. The first thing that catches your eye is the huge number of plates on the tables. It is customary to have a good and delicious lunch here. So, take an appetizer of goat cheese, olive oil, herbs and tomatoes as an aperitif, the main dish will be presented by mussels in wine sauce or grilled octopus with onion rings in breadcrumbs, French fries and local wine or beer.

Mouragio is one of the most popular taverns among the local residents. So don't be surprised if you learn a few phrases in Greek during the lunch. The highlight of this place is its conciseness. Simple interior with plain tints of the walls, small wooden tables for several people and a modest menu, where every dish is hearty and appetizing. Salads with prawns and with grilled cheese, breaded or grilled squid and the fish cooked according to a special recipe will not leave any guest hungry. Important: the waiters here do not speak English or Russian, but they will do everything to serve everyone well.

Zorbas the Greek is an establishment that accurately monitors all the innovations in the restaurant sphere. There is show kitchen, so you can watch how the cook is cooking mpougatsa for you, frying fish or making French fries. In the yard, there is an outdoors grill where they fry corn, fish and meat. Another advantage of the restaurant is a beautiful view of the gulf.

Romina Pizza is a spacious and bright place where you can eat a delicious pizza on thin dough for dinner. In addition to this classic Italian dish, there are burgers on the menu. The highlight of the place is that you can make your own burger in the literal sense of the word. To do this, it is enough to come up to a special desk on which there are plates with soft buns with sesame seeds, lettuce, cutlets, cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, onion rings and baked seafood.


There are several types of crimes in Greece: light, medium-gravity crime, serious and extremely serious crimes and the dinner without a sea view. Ierissos was simply created by Zeus for leisurely suppers with a glass of wine and for watching moored yachts in the rays of the setting sun.

In order not to be considered an evildoer in the world of foodies, go to Kolatsi. This is a not very large tavern with huge panoramic windows overlooking the bay. Order breaded fish with vegetables, squid or mussels, homemade dry white wine and just enjoy the moment. And when the sun sets, lanterns will be lit here and local musicians will start their performance.

If you like to cook yourself, there are many small shops, local supermarkets, a representative of the Swedish Lidl store chain and several supply shops with seafood.

Useful info

  1. If you like a very active holiday and a lot of people around, then go to other villages. Here you will feel bored and dull.
  2. Rent a car if you want to see as much as possible.
  3. There are many monks in the village, so respect their personal space and desire for privacy.